What has been the most challenging part of your career so far?
I come from a family of educators. I always felt like the black sheep after choosing to study commerce in university; however, looking back, things seem to have come full circle.
After graduating, I had job interviews with the companies that I had dreamed about as a business student. I prepared, and the interviews went really well.
Except for one thing.
I remember distinctly, on several occasions, sitting there in a fancy boardroom during the interview and thinking to myself "Is this really what I want to do with my life?".
The answer was no.
None of the careers that I had originally thought would be fulfilling were aligned with my values – my strengths were there, and so were my interests; however, I knew I wouldn't be fully engaged unless I could combine all three into my work.
Next, I did what every recent grad who really needs to pay off his student loans does. I bought a backpack and a one-way ticket to Europe. This was an experience that changed me on several levels, but I'll spare you the details.
When I arrived home over a year later, I got a call from a couple of guys I had graduated with. They were working on an idea to make school more engaging for students and asked me to sit in on a brainstorming session.
Looking back, what started me out on this path was a bit of luck, great partners, a lot of thinking, and a deep desire to find work that was aligned with my values.
There were many times when the path was unclear – hey, even today it's unclear. But I think that the important thing is to use self-knowledge as a compass, and to keep moving in the right direction, even when you don't know exactly where you'll end up.
Here's someone who's said it better than I ever could...
“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” - Martin Luther King Jr.